CommuniTeach: Learn New Skills from Your Neighbors For Free

March 30, 2011

12:30 pm

With the unemployment rate at 9.5%, building marketable skills and accessing networking opportunities is not just a desire but a necessity for millions of Americans. Enter CommuniTeach, a cost-effective way to do both.

CommuniTeach is an application that makes it easy to learn anything from your peers – for free. For any skill you want to learn – whether it is resume building or learning guitar – CommuniTeach matches you with those online willing to teach it to you. Since 2010, the CommuniTeach team has provided 1-on-1 learning matches to 1,300 users and helped to create 125 group “LearnIts” on topics ranging from photography to social media to swing dancing. Organizations can create private CommuniTeach networks, providing a constant source of networking and skill sharing opportunities for their members.

CommuniTeach was co-founded by Sarah Press, a 2008 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill who developed her finance and strategy skills as a management consultant for Bain and then a Program Manager for i.c.stars, an endeavor that provides opportunities for inner-city young adults in Chicago to harness the strength of the Internet economy for social and economic empowerment. She’s put her technology-for-social- good experience to work leading CommuniTeach’ s revenue generation and expansion strategy. Ben Paul, co-founder, currently manages web development while completing Psychology graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh. The team is rounded out by Erica Moen, who provides key outreach to community groups.

CommuniTeach differentiates itself from others in the space by:

  • Holding free classes and adopting a peer-to-peer learning model that encourages all users to be both teachers and learners. This approach widens the user base and increases scalability.
  • Not only connecting people but also creating skill exchanges with clear, concrete rewards. In addition, users do not need to take the risk of meeting strangers: CommuniTeach leverages the trust in existing personal networks through their ‘Network’ feature.
  • Capitalizing on the effectiveness and social component that comes from live, in-person learning – qualities that online tutorials lack.

If you have a skill that your willing to teach to others, check out the site. If you’re in Chicago on March 31st, come by and meet the team – CommuniTeach is one of the showcased startups at Tech Cocktail Chicago.

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Marla Shaivitz is a writer, developer and digital marketer. She's interested in innovations & innovators in technology and those working toward social good. Follow Marla on Twitter at @marlashaivitz.

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